February 2012

Bi-fold doors and hardware

I need parts for my bi-fold door track. What do I need to know?

Bi-fold doors are an excellent way to put a door on a space and still save room by not having to leave vacant space to accommodate a standard door swing.  Bi-fold doors come in a variety of styles and materials.  Wood bi-folds can be flush hollow core or solid core, louvered, paneled, embossed, and the list is only limited really only by your imagination.

Is It Chic or Just Shabby?

Getting vintage right.

I like vintage and antique designs, but I also love simplicity. I send quite a bit of time learning about different painting and furniture restoration techniques because the furniture I love is often too much of a stretch on my pocketbook. I also scour secondhand stores for furniture that could be turned into something amazing with a bit of time and little money. It seems a lot of people have the same idea, because I have seen some horrible restoration jobs out there.

Green Cleaners

Help for your wallet and the environment.

When my husband and I first moved in together, he joked that it looked like I was the one living in a bachelor pad. While he had items for a fully appointed kitchen, a living room set, and a full box of cleaning supplies, all my belongings fit in my car and all I had for cleaning was an old broom and a spray bottle filled with vinegar. My reasons weren't green at the time – I was just cheap and lazy.

Prepare For Major Improvements

When you want to start a major improvement to your home or repair, it's important that you plan for every contingency. Ill planning have have a major detrimental effect on you home and family. By contingencies, I am not just talking about the planning of the job itself.


We all know that we need to make sure we have all the tools and know how do what needs to be done. There are some areas we don't think about. If you are working on something and need to shut off a breaker, does it impact anything else? Will your children suddenly not be able to watch television? Will your wife not be able to do the dishes or cook dinner?

Mortgage Rates Up – Are They a Good Deal Still?

After months of low mortgage rates, this week saw a slight increase in the current mortgage interest rates some lenders are offering. In fact, these rates have been in place for the last three weeks at an all time low. Is it still a good deal to buy a home right now, though?

New Mortgage News

Freddie Mac reported this week that the average interest rate on a mortgage for 30 years was 3.95 percent. This is up by a significant .8 increase. The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage rate increased as well to 3.16 to 3.19 percent. Does this mean that consumers should stop buying homes now? That is not the case at all.

We Don't Need That

Oh Yes I do

“What do we need that for?” I asked my then fiancée as we were registering for gifts at Target prior to our wedding.  He had picked out a toaster oven and scanned the barcode adding it to our list with the remark “because we don’t have one.” True, we did not have a toaster over, because we had a toaster AND an oven, which in my mind covered any need we already had in that genre.  He persisted and a few months later, my bridal shower bestowed upon me the toaster oven of contention.

A Well-Organized Home

What to keep and what to scrap.

Sometimes, I think about all the crap that I have in my house. There’s just so much stuff that it seems overwhelming to ever try to sort through it all. I have boxes filled with books and shoes and random papers and old stuffed animals. My mother’s basement is filled with all of the things I bought too many times, remains of all of the thirteen moves I’ve made over the last six years.

But sometimes, I imagine sorting through it all and finding the items that I actually want to keep in my house. I think the keep pile should and will be very small, while the give away pile should easily be quite large. Here’s a list of the items I would keep. Perhaps it will help you sort through things in your house:

Prepping Before You Paint

Get professional results.

Paint can make a room look like new, giving it a fresh look without the expense or time of an involved remodel. Many homeowners put off painting because it seems difficult to get the professional results they desire. The secret to a perfect paint job lies mainly in what you do before you even crank open a paint can.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide

Everyone knows that they need to have a smoke alarm in their homes in case of a fire and everyone knows the unique smell of natural gas, but carbon monoxide is a silent killer that easily sneaks up on you.


Many states have a mandatory law that says people must have a carbon monoxide detector in their home, but unless the city building inspector comes in to take a look, few people actually follow the law. I live in a large older home and for the longest time I had a carbon monoxide detector that was used less than the smoke alarm. (I burn a lot of food.)


I regretted spending the money on it because it could have gone to something else. I am pretty good at keeping the batteries up to date and everything, so imagine my surprise when one that the alarm went off. I didn't smell anything, but just to be on the safe side, I opened up some windows and called my heating and cooling people.

Tax Trouble

A Big Refund is a Bad Thing

Without fail every year people begin watching their bank accounts or mailbox, waiting impatiently for the big tax refund check to hit. It used to be the same way in our household, until logic kicked in and we realized a big tax refund check meant nothing more than we had given the government an interest free loan for the preceding 12 months. For the past few years, we haven't even received a small refund – one of the side effects of self-employment.

Like It or Love It

Keurig Works Either Way

I like coffee. I don’t love it. I don’t hate it. I could probably live without it. I like my occasional Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks, but I don’t even have a coffee maker at home. However, this past Christmas, my office received a gift from our corporate bosses that might just be perfect for people like me—a Keurig coffee maker.

Mortgage Settlement to Help Millions - Right


A recent announcement in the mortgage industry reveals that the country's largest mortgage lenders have agreed to a settlement to award homeowners and those who lost their home in foreclosure for improper actions taken during the early portion of the housing crisis. The settlement confirms that Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Ally Financial have agreed to pay into a fund to repay homeowners for money lost. But, what does this really mean for today's homeowner?

Each have agreed to pay a total of $5 billion to help remedy the dubious mortgage practices and abuses of foreclosures the industry took place in. In addition to paying out funds to some, the agency promised to help homeowners underwater on their mortgages. Those who owe more than their home is currently worth could see a reduction in the principal mounted owed on their loans. In this type of adjustment, the lenders agreed to settle at $17 billion in total.

Heating the Upstairs

I live in a two-story home with my furnace in the basement. On cold nights during the winter, it can be difficult for the furnace to push the hot air all the way to the second floor. This can make for a cold night considering all of our bedrooms are on the second floor.


The upstairs can be a difficult area for you to keep heated, but there are few ways that you can stay warm and keep the cost within acceptable limits.


Cut Off Unused Areas


If there are rooms on the second floor that aren't used, then cover the vents and block cracks in the door. This will keep the warm area of heating in the unnecessary rooms. Keep the doors closed in the rooms that are used to keep the warm air inside and not heating other areas of the second floor.

How to Put Together a Housewarming Gift for a New Neighbor

Have you tried to come up with a housewarming gift for your new neighbor only to wind up at a loss for ideas? For this housewarming gift all you'll need is your phone book, computer screen, printer, computer paper and a ribbon to tie together your finished product. Your new neighbor may only be moving 10 miles from their previous destination. It is enough, however, for them to wind up feeling out of place when it comes to knowing the destination of nearby takeout restaurants, grocery stores, hair salons and other services they might need. Putting together sheet or two with your go to spots will delight and relieve your new neighbor when he or she finds themselves looking for a local business.

Yard Clean-Up

Get the outside of your home ready for spring.

Many of the bushes and plants outside are beginning to look a bit bedraggled. Taking an afternoon to get everything in order now can result in a better looking yard and healthier plants in spring. You can also get outside and enjoy the warmer days instead of tending to landscape chores since you already finished them.

How can I get all of the locks on my home keyed alike?

Maybe you’ve just moved into a new home and you would like to  locks that are keyed alike is very simple and can actually be accomplished in one of 2 ways or even a combination of the 2.

Take a look on the top of the box or somewhere on the package for a label that has a keying code.  The label should say key alike, key-code, or something of that nature.  Sometimes, however, not enough keyed alike locks are available in the style or product you’re looking for.  Not to worry.  Most name brand locksets can be re-keyed to another key or even a key that you already have.

The Appliance I'll Never Regret

My KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Yesterday, as I was making Taco Chicken Dip for the Superbowl, I thought to myself “What would I do without my KitchenAid?” When I bought my stand mixer a few years back on Black Friday, I was still in college and it was definitely not something a college student needed for her tiny little apartment.

How to Identify Wine Types

Have you been scratching your head trying to figure out what type of housewarming gift to get your friend, neighbor or sister who's in the process of moving? You don't want to spend too little or too much and everything seems either cheap or expensive. Think about purchasing a bottle of win  that taste good and doesn't cost a ton of money. Look to what type of vino that the person in your life who is moving likes. Bring them sparkling cider if you know for a fact that they don't like to drink.


It's a daunting task when you're trying to figure out which is the best wine when several varieties of vino exist on store shelves and online. Pick out which type of wine you want to buy before you decide on which company to purchase it from. Learn the different varieties that can help you not only with this gift, but with future purchases as well. Wine types include sweet, dessert, dry, red, white and fortified wine, according to an article posted to “eHow” titled “Types of Wine” written by Nathan Egelhof.